We’re being pulled and pushed around! SARS discontinues debit pull transactions

Many taxpayers use eFiling to pay amounts due to SARS. This worked on what is known as the “debit pull” method whereby taxpayers effectively authorised SARS to collect the funds from the taxpayer’s bank account. This system has some drawbacks, namely –

  • Taxpayers can stop the payment,

  • If there are insufficient funds in the account, the taxpayer’s bank will not make the transfer to SARS,

  • Taxpayers could be exposed to the risk of unauthorised transactions being processed on their bank accounts.

In the first two cases above, SARS ended up out of pocket and in the last case, being “unable to validate that the person authorising SARS to initiate the debit pull is mandated to do so”, SARS faced potential liabilities. SARS began phasing out “debit pull” in early September. The lack of notice given by SARS has exposed taxpayers to difficulties and frustrations. Suddenly they find themselves unable to pay their on-going tax liabilities such as VAT until they have switched to the new SARS payment system, known as “credit push”. This new system means that you or your tax practitioner will still load the payment on your eFiling profile as before, you will be given a PRN (payment request number) and an instruction is then sent to the bank; thereafter you must log onto your bank to authorise the payment (i.e. you must physically authorise this request via Internet banking). Just beware that eFiling will not be as easy as you or your tax practitioner simply pressing a button before making payment. Allow yourself more time as the payment method switches to the new system and speak to your tax practitioner if in doubt. There are still the alternative methods of payment to SARS – over the counter at a bank, by EFT using internet banking, or at a SARS branch (including Customs). Finally SAICA (the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants) and the other recognised controlling bodies are lobbying SARS and the banks in an attempt to assist both tax practitioners and you the taxpayer – hopefully the credit push system will at least be streamlined. © DotNews, 2005-2013. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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